• Advocacy

What freelancers can learn from the #FightFor15

On Tuesday, November 10th, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that he will raise the minimum wage rate for all State workers to $15.00 per hour.

“You can’t pay for housing and food and clothing on $18,000 a year, period,” Cuomo stated.

On that same day, thousands of fast food workers protested across the United States in an amazing display of solidarity, letting the nation know that they were not going away. The protests lead right to the latest Republican presidential debate in Milwaukee.

And why not? The National Employment Law Project found that most unregistered voters would sign up if candidates backed the $15.00 hourly wage, also, recent polls have shown that the public support is growing for the #Fightfor15 movement.

Studies show that some fast food CEOs can earn up to 1,000 times more than their average employee, so with that in mind, I was glad to hear Governor Cuomo take a stance to bridge the pay gap for workers.

This is an historic time for many public workers across New York State. But, how about freelancers, Mr. Cuomo?

We already have the attention of the White House: President Obama himself declared that “Freelancing isn’t free.”

Join the people making the future of freelancing better(it's free!)

Become a Freelancers Union member

Will you join the 1.3 million independent workers in New York, Freelancers Union and Councilman Brad Lander in ensuring payment protection for freelancers?

80% of freelancers report being cheated out of some or all of their due wages from their clients.

Can you imagine the colorful responses I would get if I told employees their “check is in the mail” or “We didn’t use their work, so we don’t see the reason to pay them” or if I just generally gave them the run around?

My desk would fill with resignation letters, phone calls from the department of labor, small claims court as well as my own termination letter.

The government protects employees from wage theft to ensure that businesses remain healthy and people aren’t vulnerable to income distress.

On April 9th, 2011, New York State passed the Wage Theft Prevention Act that requires employers to provide full-time employee with written documentation of their pay rate, how they are paid, when they will be paid and the phone number of the main office to inquire about their pay.

Good law, for sure. But why don’t these protections apply for independent workers?

Freelancers take on all the burden of ensuring that they get paid. Sure, it’s good business to have the scope of work, payment structure and any advances outlined in a written contract, but that option isn’t available to all independent workers. And, as we all know, even a contract can be broken.

Why is it okay for employers to view payment for freelance work as an afterthought?

I’m an HR manager, so I tried to imagine a valid reason for nonpayment or latepayment. Is there anything I could possibly say to a freelancer that would excuse my organization for failing to pay them on time or in full?

No – there’s not one. It’s ethically inexcusable, bad business, and all-around shady.

One of, if not THE main reason the #FightFor15 campaign has been so successful is that the low wage workers refuse to give up. Fast food, retail and other workers banded together in solidarity and have made their voice heard across the nation.

This isn’t just a Fight for 15… it’s a Fight for US ALL.

Who would have imagined that some of the most disempowered workers in this country could come together and achieve the #FightFor15?

It’s possible and, for Freelance Nation, it’s positively inspirational.

This year, the Freelancers Union’s study on independent contractors showed that 86% of freelancers are likely to vote in the coming 2016 elections. Not only that, but freelancers are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports freelancers interests.

Together we have power and we have influence. Now is the time to stand as a community and let our voices be heard across the nation.

That’s why I invite you to join us on** Monday, December 7 at 12 p.m. to rally for the #FreelanceIsntFree bill on the steps of City Hall in Manhattan. **

**RSVP **

I will be there because I support this community and I believe that nonpayment is theft.

I believe in making the future of freelancing better.

Will you join me?

Bryan is a native New Yorker who is annoyed as you how expensive it is. He follows comedy, is a movie nerd and can't keep his mouth shut when he sees something that is wrong. Catch him on twitter @tryingmybestok

Bryan McDowl Bryan is a native New Yorker who is annoyed as you about how expensive it is. He follows comedy, is a movie nerd and can't help but speak up when he sees something wrong.

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